An Ode to the Moms Left at Home

military spouses against backdrop of american flag

During your spouse’s deployment, you have to really dig deep for strength. You claw away at yourself to find another ounce of courage, patience, resiliency. You make a lot of decisions – you do a lot; all on your own. Most days you stand tall, proud of all you’re doing, but some days you curl up in that ball of self-pity, moaning to yourself, “Why me? Why?!

You’re capable – you’re incredibly capable. You learn to do things a normal spouse or mother would never have to learn. You have to manage everything. There are no split responsibilities – it’s all you!

The women I’ve walked through this current deployment with have blown me away.

While I don’t think I’m doing anything that remarkable, I see my superhero friends making limoncello out of this rotten bag of lemons the Army has handed them. You, my friends need to know how marvelous, resilient, and STRONG you are.

Not only have you kept tiny people alive and taught them how to be kind humans, you have managed to survive as a human yourself. Those showers may be sparse, but I’d never know because your glossy hair falls beautifully on your strong shoulders. Speaking of those toned shoulders, how are you finding time to exercise? On second thought, maybe you’re just constantly lifting your 30 pound toddler (oh OK, that’s probably it).

You are the master of multitasking, getting through the tough days and weeks. You hold the title of: accountant, maid, chef, lawn care specialist, and handy-man.

You are mom and dad.

You are your children’s best play mate, disciplinarian, and teacher. You can be silly, strict, fun, and constant — all at the same time. Your cooking skills may have taken a turn for the worse, but you’re at least feeding you and your kids.

On top of all of this, you have continued to empower me through your steadfast example. I have loved seeing you explore new talents I did not know you had within you! You’ve opened a business during this deployment. You’ve launched and ran a blog. You’ve trained and run a half marathon. You started a new job. You bought an investment property. You learned how to sew. You created, built, and put together all of your children’s themed Halloween outfits. You learned how to fix a toilet. You painted the kitchen. You learned how to use a drill, so you could put up curtains and shelves.

Then, what about all the extra yet necessary stuff you have done? I mean putting together a monthly care package is a skill worth raving about in and of itself! Kids homework and school projects. Organizing the pantry. Hosting a garage sale and getting rid of all the clutter. Making and fostering new friendships. Staying up late to finish that work project you didn’t get to finish during the normal 9-5 workday. And did I mention that friend who flew across the country alone with her three kids while six months pregnant?!

Deployments have the tendency to push us to the point where we not only “figure it out” and channel independence, but we get good at a lot of things. We unravel skills that had been previously pushed aside. We grow in so many ways it actually makes the deployment nearly worth it.

It may not feel that way in the moment; but it’s true.

So, while you’re clawing away at yourself looking for one more iota of strength, remember: whether you like it or not – you are better, stronger, and braver than you ever once were.